Student prepares film for spring screening

Josh Collins submits to local and national film festivals

Mason Hickok, Editor-in-Chief

Josh Collins is not letting “analysis paralysis” prevent him from doing what he loves. Collins, a senior communication student at UTSA, learned the term in a conversation with a former agent of the filmmaker Robert Rodriguez; her name was Theresa Vargas. Collins had disclosed that he was interested in writing, and Vargas encouraged him to try and write a screenplay.

“For the longest time growing up, I always loved watching movies,” Collins said. “I had always been interested in making a movie.”

Collins filmed his first short film, “Master Sommelier,” in San Antonio in January with some of his close friends. 

A sommelier is an expert wine specialist trained to recommend wine pairings in restaurants; master sommeliers are the highest level one can reach. To set a film in that world is a niche thought, but the idea came from one of Collins’ collaborators who watched a Vice documentary on the subject.

Courtesy of Josh Collins

“What I learned was that not only is there this elite society of people that do this for a living, they make thousands of dollars and their exam to become a master is among the most difficult tests in the world,” Collins said.

As the semester nears its end, Collins is submitting to as many local film festivals as possible, with the intent for even higher accolades — submitting to short film contests at the Cannes Film Festival and South by Southwest (SXSW).

“Come early April, we were finally done with [the film],” Collins said. “I looked at my bank account and was like, ‘How many film festivals can I get this out to before I hit zero?’ [But], I’m happy with what we have,” Collins said. “We were sitting at a table and were like, ‘Why not [submit to] Cannes or SXSW?’”

As Collins prepared for his final semester, there was a palpable urgency to take classes that could strengthen his writing and more.

Courtesy of Josh Collins

“I had to register for classes, and I wanted to see what screenwriting classes [there were],” Collins said. “Even some school projects, where I had to go film something, I could tell that I was starting to feel myself get better.”

Collins is proud to see the film program becoming a viable option for student filmmakers, with praise given to Professor Paul Ardoin, the program director. 

“If you told me 12 months ago [that] this existed, I would not have believed it,” Collins said. “[The program] really is pro-students, pro-student projects. That is admirable. I like that.”

For Collins, collaboration is at the core of his work.

“Collaboration — not even understating it — is the most important thing in terms of my creative work,” Collins said. “Without collaboration, I would not have this short, a poster or a platform. I have creative friends, and being able to see everybody do what they love was fascinating.”

Currently, Collins is in pre-production on his next short film. “Master Sommelier” will be shown at the Film and Media program’s Spring screening on May 2 at the Santikos Palladium.